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Amid turbulent skies, another churn in IndiGo cockpit – Deccan Herald

More than three months ago, the country’s largest airline IndiGo’s successful co-founders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal made headlines.

On February 4, the announcement came that Bhatia will take charge as the airline’s Managing Director and on February 18, amid the not-so-cosy relations between the two co-founders, it was announced that Gangwal has stepped down from its board.

Bhatia took over as the Managing Director on February 4 and since then, there have been quite a few churns in the top deck.

IndiGo — a low-cost carrier which accounts for more than half of the country’s domestic traffic — has announced the appointment of new Chairman, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since March.

In March, IndiGo’s market share stood at 54.8 per cent, as per official data.

IndiGo, which has nearly 300 planes in its fleet, is also bracing for more competition with Akasa expected to be operational in the coming months while Jet Airways likely to restart operations soon. The spiralling jet fuel prices is another major worry for the recovering aviation space.

The latest churn in IndiGo top deck is the appointment of Pieter Elbers as the CEO. He will join the airline on or before October 1 this year while incumbent Ronojoy Dutta will retire on September 30.

Read | IndiGo’s CEO Ronojoy Dutta resigns, Pieter Elbers to take over in October

On May 4, the budget airline announced the stepping down of Chairman M Damodaran on attaining the age of 75 years. Now, InterGlobe Aviation, the parent of IndiGo, is chaired by Ventakataramani Sumantran.

Gaurav Negi was appointed as the CFO with effect from March 29 following the resignation of Jiten Chopra.

Wednesday’s announcement of change of guard at the airline also comes against the backdrop of denial of boarding of a specially-abled child by IndiGo staff at Raipur airport on May 7, an incident for which aviation regulator DGCA has issued a show cause notice to the carrier.

When Bhatia took over as the Managing Director, he said his agenda would be transformational and he would focus on expanding the airline’s presence in India and in international markets and building for the long term.

In December 2021, IndiGo shareholders approved a special resolution to remove a clause in the company’s Articles of Association (AoA). The clause had given Bhatia and Gangwal the power of right of first refusal when one of them wanted to sell his shares. The passage of the special resolution was likely to have paved the way for resolution of the differences.

Prior to that, differences between Bhatia and co-promoter Rakesh Gangwal had come into the public domain in July 2019. Later, in September 2021, the London Court of International Arbitration gave the final arbitration award in the matter related to the spat.

Meanwhile, thanking Dutta, Bhatia on Wednesday said he and the company’s board would like to thank Ronojoy for effectively leading the business for almost four years with a steady hand through what has been the most turbulent period in the airline’s history and aviation globally.

Now, more competition is ahead in the Indian skies.